Medical English for German Doctors
Instructional Record Series.
Reviewed by John Brady
Wednesday, April 19 2000, 1:09 PM
In recent years, music companies have found they can drastically increase their profit margins by investing in pop marginalia. A derivative phenomena of the general trend in pop music nostalgia, the marginalia market caters to buyers seeking not only old, but obscure music. The more marginal, the better. (Usually the crappier the better, too, although that is another review.) Thus, for example, there are now endless series of compilations featuring 60s and 70s funk and soul from places once thought way beyond the pale of funkiness, like Australia and Wisconsin. Or throw a rock in a record store and you're likely to hit the latest record from the growing collection of obscure garage band hybrids: girl garage bands, Asian girl garage bands, Asian girl garage bands with Caucasian drummers, Midwestern boy garage bands who moved to New York and got hooked on horse, garage bands who didn't practice in garages. The list of possible combinations goes on and on.
In this type of cultural and market environment, it is a special pleasure to come across some virgin pop marginalia, that is, old and obscure cultural objects that have yet to be sucked up by the culture industry and re-packaged as the latest commodities designed for unreflective cultural consumption. The record series Medical English for German Doctors is just such a cultural object. Published by the Knoll Chemical Company of Ludwigshafen GermanyMedical English for German Doctors is a set of instructional 45s for German doctors seeking to learn how to say things like "injected fauces" and "irregular tachycardia of supraventricular origin." With titles like "Medical Ward Round" and "House Calls", the recordings portray slices of everyday medical life. They present dialogs of typical medical situations spoken in impeccable English. The German medical professionals who at one times used these recording in the attempt to improve their language skills were able to listen, repeat and follow along in the instruction books provided with each disc.
More natural than any episode of ER, but just as emotionally gripping, the records were a real find. Although, I do worry that one of these days I will be flipping through the bins at my local record store to find that Rhino has just put out a compilation called, The Best, Most Obscure Medical Instruction Records From Around the World. But until that day, I will take private pleasure in knowing that according to Knoll Pharmaceuticals Zangenentbindung is best translated as forceps delivery.